Yeehah! South African western finally canters on to the big screen

Johannesburg - The Market Theatre was abuzz on Wednesday night with anticipation and excitement for the premier of Five Fingers for Marseilles, a locally made western movie.

Guests even wore cowboy hats so as to get in the spirit of things.

Director Michael Matthews said things were looking up in the local film industry.

“Every major film festival has a South African film in it which says something about where we are.”

Asked if he was happy with the actors he was able to lock down for the cast, he said: “A lot of the guys on the cast were on the wishlist; there hasn’t been an ensemble cast like this in South Africa.”

The red carpet was rolled out just outside the main entrance to the theatre and the evening was clear and temperate.

First to arrive were Matthews and script writer Sean Drummond, both looking quite sharp and happy. This film is the culmination of eight years of hard work. It is a quality cinematic offering and perhaps the American funding and co-producers that were involved had something to do with it.

Vuyo Dabula plays the lead role in what is the crown jewel of his career. He strolled in in a manner that a leading man should, slightly later than most and he was dressed like a black panther. The revolutionary civil rights fighters, not the superhero.

He was joined by other cast members, Kenneth Nkosi, Hamilton Dlamini and Aubrey Poolo as well as a group of youngsters from Grey Lady in the north of the Eastern Cape where the film is set. They portray the main characters in their childhood days.

Mduduzi Mabaso, aka Suffo from Rhythm City, stars in this western as a dirty cop but on the night he was being somewhat of a big brother to the group of youngsters, ushering them about the red carpet and posing for pictures.

Mabaso found it hard to believe he was part of all this and said: “It was interesting to watch this movie for the first time.”

He was wearing one of those shirts with the male cleavage effect showing in front. He said he didn’t do a whole lot of physical training for this role. “I prepared myself psychologically so as to be at a high level.”

Jerry Mofokeng was there and he explained his role: “There’s an old man who owns a bar, he always has. He has seen people come and go and could tell you about generations and people of the town. He also has issues with authority.”

He praised the cast and crew, and even the make-up department that gave him quite an impressive looking head of dreadlocks in the film.

“The make-up artists did a splendid job as well as the creators.”

He said they did more than create a western and that “it was great fun playing this old wise man.”

Be sure to see Five Fingers for Marseilles in cinemas on April 6.